Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stop, in the Name of the Law

Don't forget the new law about STOPPING for pedestrians in the crosswalk.  The new law is supposed to be more clear.  I guess yielding is too confusing for Illinois drivers.  How about we all try not to hit anyone with our death machines, even if the pedestrians or cyclists aren't in the crosswalk?  'Kay?  Lest I sound overly negative toward drivers of motor vehicles.  I chided my cycling husband about this very law less than 24 hours ago.  I just think if we ALL took driving a little more seriously, the roads would be safer and possibly more fun.  Yes, we've all had people walk or bike out in front of us without looking.  Yes, there are people who do silly, dangerous, reckless things, but most people are trying to be as safe as possible and even for the less than stellar peds/cyclists out there, who might need a little more common sense or don't use the best really sucks to hit them.  Let's all be careful out there.

I Have My Thumb Back!

Two weeks ago today, I rode to the gym, worked out, dropped my beloved Xtracycle off at Champaign Cycle (our fave bike shop in town), and walked the couple miles home.  Today I finally walked to the shop and picked my bike up.  I still had my LeMond road bike to use while my Xtracycle was in the shop, but it was like having my thumb cut off, I could still do everything I could before, but not as easily.  Things have been crazy busy and Rob worked a lot of hours so we never were able to take the trailer hitch off his bike and didn't think to take it off mine before I dropped it off at Champaign Cycle .  Thus, the kids and I did more walking in the beautiful weather and even hopped on the bus, which we rarely do this time of year.  Here they are patiently waiting at the bus stop at the beginning of our very busy Thursday (lunch at Common Ground Co-op, shopping at the Art Coop, picking up a yoga mat at Amara Yoga, Parker's yoga class in Urbana (not Amara), shipping a package for my business, three visits to the Urbana Free Library, retracing our steps for a temporarily lost bus pass, two different banks, and soccer practice in SW Champaign).
Rob pulled more than his weight for our Saturday Market at the Square/Common Ground Co-op shopping, the last two Saturdays.  
Here he is pulling Josie in the Chariot with groceries packed in the trailer and his Freeloaders with Dema on the snap deck (well, Dema had just hopped off).  Parker was on his own bike with his soccer gear in the pannier.  I just had my backpack/purse so everyone kept asking me to slow down.  It feels strange to be back in the saddle of my Xtracylce, but I'm so happy to have my SUV back.  It will be easier to take the kids to the gym with me and we won't have a half hour walk to Josie's dance class.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Love the Smell of Sweat in the Morning

I finally got off my buttum (as my three year old would say) and biked to the gym for a 5:30 class this morning.  I was a little nervous about my LeMond because I rode over some glass Monday morning and my skinny tires aren't very forgiving.  I really did not want to experience a flat in the dark while my family slept and carry my bike to the gym or home.  Luckily, my tire held out and I forgot how glorious it feels to ride early in the morning with so few motorized vehicles on the road.  The chill of the wind, the freedom, the feeling I could ride on forever...bliss.

I did stop, however, instead of just riding on and worked out for a hour.  The ride home was beautiful with the sun coming up, but the cars that were now on the road were clueless.  At least half a dozen didn't give me close to the legal requirement of three feet passing space (a future post on this, I promise, but suffice it to say, if I can reach out and touch your car with my short little arms - you are waayyy too close).  I mean seri-ass-ly!  It wasn't rush hour, I was going at a pretty fast clip (the speed sign set up near one of the school I pass said I was going 21 mph uphill) and I wasn't taking the entire lane except at the stop light or when turning.  So why or why crowd me?

Deep breath.

I still enjoyed myself and look forward to more early morning rides to the gym.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bus Haul

We didn't get a chance to shop last Saturday.  We did get to Urbana in the afternoon for one of our favorite twin birthday parties.  I think round trip is about 10 miles.  We stopped for lunch in Campustown before heading to Historic East Urbana.  A lovely Saturday.  We've been busy running here and there since, but I was holding off on grocery shopping.  I wanted to wait until Saturday again, but we are taking care of a friend's two children most of the day tomorrow and I wanted to have things for them to eat.  I also needed to ship a package, go to the library, and stop at the bank so it was a good excuse to head over to Urbana.  It was drizzling so we decided to take the bus.  We haven't been on the bus hardly at all this summer.  It is so much more convenient to bike.  I had heard there are changes to our trusty Orange line* so I wanted to check things out for myself and pick up a new bus schedule.

We walked to the "cool" tree bus stop several blocks from our house, enjoying the gentle much needed rain.  The kids were happy to ride on the cute hybrid bus and the little ones (6 and almost 3, but they are still my little ones) even took a quick nap on the ride over.  People often ask how we get groceries without a car.  Then I show them our Xtracycles and they wonder how one could get food without a bike.  Well, often after the farmers' markets are over, I take over the shopping and do it during the week on the bus.  I really need to buy one of those grocery carts, but I just usually kill my back, I mean get a good workout, carrying the bags on my shoulders and sometimes Josie too.  I am not above bringing the boys' backpacks and filling them with groceries as well or at least have them carry their own library haul, but this time I gave them a break.
One very full bag of books, CDs, and DVDs, we could barely close the zipper.  It was almost as full when we left so it wasn't much of a change and Parker did help carry it part of the way to the bus stop on the ride home since I had the three bags of groceries, which Parker deemed even heavier than the library bag which is why he chose that one to carry.  Way too many canned/jarred goods this time and not much produce (I'm usually the one on the bus everyone stares at because I have leafy greens bursting out of my bags, it has provoked questions more than a few times) because I had to take advantage of the sales on artichoke hearts and the like.  I was going mainly to stock up on sandwich bread since Strawberry Fields has the best sandwich bread in town and bread is pretty light, but I can't help myself, so three loaded bags later, and a crick in my back**, we were home with food.  

*The Orange has changed its route a bit and no longer goes through campus which is unfortunate for those in my neighborhood (and there are quite a few, I know) who commute to campus.  They can still ride the Orange downtown and transfer, but it was oh so much nicer to be able to stay on one bus all the way there.  On the positive side, the new Orange goes to Chrystal Lake Park (not the intent, it goes behind Carle hospital now which I'm sure was the point) which we might take advantage of in the future.    The old route went pretty close, but we had to cross University (four lanes at that point).  There is an Orange Hopper which runs more often and just goes between the two downtowns.  I haven't decided how helpful this is yet for us.  I'll have to check how late it runs.

**The crick in my neck may also be from working out.  I've joined a gym which is about two miles from my house.  I'm getting into the swing of exercise outside our daily comings and goings.